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Why Post Office Troubles Are Great For Direct Mail Marketing

April 20, 2010 • Dundee Data • Dundee Data News

As I’m sure you’ve heard – our United States Postal Service is rumored to be closing several offices. Sources say over the next three months, more than 3,200 post offices and retails outlets – out of 34,000 – will be reviewed for closure or consolidation. Our post office managed themselves to a $3.8 billion dollar loss last year, and they are facing an even greater loss this year due to the sharp decline in mail volume and our weak economy. Questions remain – will they increase postage to cover the costs? Maybe they will shut down our favorite post office locations? Either way, this situation has serious implications for us at direct marketers; so I’d like to set the record correct on why this is a GOOD THING for our industry, not bad.

1.) Lower Mail Volume Means Your Mail Gets Read!
Is the sky really falling? Total mail volume has fallen steeply, by 25.6 billion pieces, or almost 13 percent – more than double in any decade in history. Worse, the Postal Service expects that 2010 mail volume will drop by another 11 billion pieces. Now, here’s what you don’t hear in the newspapers – most of this mail volume are bills, invoices, and personal correspondence (i.e. love letters). As more people move online to manage these tasks, the mail volume is lower, and that means your direct mail item has LESS COMPETITION for eye-balls. Think about this – most Americas sort their mail over the trash. When you have a big pile, you move quickly through the items, but with a smaller pile you take your time and read the offers! Bottom line, you’re more likely to get a higher response right now.

2.) No Stamp Price Increases This Year Means Mail Now!
Postal officials are pushing congress to reduce mail delivery to just five days a week. They expect this move will save them $3-4 billion annually. However – and this is important – the postal service has committed to not raise stamp prices for 2010. Yes, the post office business model is fundamentally broke, it won’t work when volume declines and they have a big problem on their hands. So, yes, we will see big changes in the coming years to our post office system, but I’m confident the mail will always get delivered – and with the right message to the right prospect, it will always get read.

3.) It’s Time To Diversity Your Direct Mail Portfolio!
While now is a great time to increase your direct mail campaign, that doesn’t mean it should be the only slice of your marketing pie. Clearly, there is a trend here more ‘eye-balls’ are going online. With video, social media, email marketing, and blogging you can get that same message to targeted prospects using the internet. So what should you do? I recommend you start developing techniques that enhance traditional direct mail with new technology. What do I mean? Here’s a simple solution – create an image of your clients direct mail postcard, place it on a website, and buy Google Adwords to drive targeted traffic to the offer. Just like direct mail – but with a new twist. Your clients will appreciate these ideas.

So What Does This All Mean?
Now I know I’m biased, but does anyone other than me see the opportunity here to reach more customers? You have less competition in the mailbox and postage rates are the LOWEST they will be. In the new economy, customers are more responsive than ever to ‘limited time discount’ or ‘special offer’ coupons that are best delivered in a timely and specific way – and that’s direct mail. Maybe I’m just the crazy one here, but does this news from the USPS effect us negatively in any way? I think not! I’m also working on new email marketing and video products that you can re-sell to your customers so you can enhance your direct marketing campaign. More to come in the following weeks…..

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